I used to enjoy watching Get Smart, a satirical secret agent show. Agent Maxwell Smart is a fumbling, bumbling, stumbling secret agent who always saves the day somehow. One of the catch phrases of the show is “Missed it by that much!” Which would’ve been appropriate to say whenever Marcus Smart jacked up a shot, as he could barely hit the side of a barn in past seasons. This season, though, he’s vastly improved the shooting and is therefore able to put up lines like this:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 6 4 3 1 1 2/5 8/14 3/3

The 21 points tied a season high! Smart is shooting 42% from the field and 36% from downtown this season. Over his first four seasons in the league, he had never posted a mark better than 37% from the field and 33% from downtown. As a result, while he always provided boards, dimes, and stocks, he was never able to crack the top 100 for fantasy on a per-game basis. This season, he’s a top 85 player and has had streaks where he’s been a top 60 player. Get Smart y’all!

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When you think of the great basketball players this season, who does your mind gravitate towards? James Harden? Paul George? Steph Curry? Karl-Anthony Towns? Giannis Antetokounmpo? There are likely 15-20 other players you would list before arriving at Andre Drummond. The free throw shooting stinks and he doesn’t provide treys, but you know what?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 21 5 2 1 1 0 9/20 3/6

That’s what’s up. Dre leads the league in dub-dubs with 58 and has posted a 20/20 game 12 times this season. He’s 10th in blocks per game, 11th in steals per game, 1st in rebounds, and 19th in field goal percentage. On the season, he’s a top 25 player for fantasy. Yes, the free throw shooting and lack of treys put a ceiling on his value, but he does so much in the other categories that…..we must never forget about Dre.

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What else is there to say about James Harden? He’s been so consistently amazing that it’s easy to lose sight of just how good he is playing. Fantasy GMs that roster him have held a serious advantage all season. Every way you slice this line, it’s amazing. On one hand, he was one board away from a 40 point triple-double. If you look even closer, he was just 2 blocks away from a 5×5. That’s just ridiculous.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
12/25 14/17 3/11 41 9 11 6 3 6

Everything about this line is massive. The turnovers are tough, but we all knew that going in. He continues to be the top play and should keep it going through the rest of the fantasy playoffs. Any team facing Harden better come correct.

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I thought I’d send out a reminder for those of you in keeper leagues. This probably applies more to roto players than head-to-headers, since those in roto leagues aren’t scraping and clawing for every last game they can get with their limited moves. I’m talking about stashing some of next year’s potential breakouts. Yeah, just about everyone worth taking next year is on a roster already… just about. In my keeper league, I once grabbed this Draymond Green character in the last few weeks of the season, since he’d been on a hot streak. He ended up finishing as a top-30 player the following season. Nearly the exact same story for C.J. McCollum the next year. And if I’d have been on my game at the end of last season, I’d have grabbed Cedi Osman, preventing me from having to waste an early draft pick on him this season (we keep a lot of players). There’s a ton of unknown between now and next October’s fantasy drafts (gloriously entertaining unknown, by the way), but we can make some educated guesses at this point. Do you have some players you know you’re not keeping next season that also aren’t making a difference on your team? Replace ’em with lottery tickets, and maybe one or two will pay off. They could at least give you some extra trade value.Some keeper and dynasty leagues don’t have a trade deadline, so I’ll be including some players here that might be near-universally owned in addition to those who have a good shot at being free agents in your league. Speaking of free agents, that’s how we’re going to unearth some of our targets. The other aspect I’ll look at are rookies and second-year players that could be in line for a bump in playing time and usage. And there will be some nice overlap in who we find from each strategy, I’m sure.

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Mike Conley has really had some tough luck with injuries and never playing for an elite team. Now that Memphis appears to be in the midst of a confusing rebuild, it creates even more of a question mark surrounding Conley and his role on the team. You start to feel bad for him, but then you remember the sweet contract he signed. Still, it has to be rough to be at his level and rarely be in conversations about current great NBA players. He shows up, plays with this roster, and puts up his stats, which have him inside the top 30 for the season.

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
11/18 3/3 3/7 28 3 11 2 0 3

This marks back-to-back excellent games for Conely. The double-digit assists are really nice, as are the 3 3’s. It’s tough to say how things will go down for Conley the rest of the season, but for now, he’s humming along nicely and fantasy GMs should be excited about the production.

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O is the most important letter in the alphabet. Without it, we cannot spell food. It is so amazing that it can transform into a number without changing shape, and without 0, a game can never end. Before you saying anything, ties are stupid. Let’s not forget about the Big O, often elusive but well worth the wait. So, is there any wonder why Kelly Olynyk is today’s lede?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 11 1 2 1 1 5/7 8/14 1/1

Continues to start and played a whopping 45 minutes! Since entering the starting lineup 12 games ago, Kelly O has averaged 26.9 minutes, 13.7 points, 5.2 boards, 2.4 dimes, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.7 tres. He’s been shooting 52% from the field, 43% from downtown, and 95% on 1.9 attempts from the line. Over the last eight games, though, the minutes have rocketed up to 32.3 minutes and he’s been a top 25 player! Oh, Kelly O! You make me want to bellow and bestow good tidings for providing fantasy inferno. A few weeks ago, I was worried what would happy to Kelly O once James Johnson returned to the mix. I no longer have any worries from that angle. The one concern I do have is will Spoelstra stick with him if the shooting efficiency comes down, because Kelly O is not going to shoot 57% from the field forever. He’s more like a 48% shooter. Until that time, though, enjoy the ride.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Vince Carter was the #5 overall pick waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 1998. This is his 23rd season in the NBA! 7-Eleven has nothing on him because it closes from Eleven to 7. Half-man, Half-amazing? Naw. All man, All amazing! Last night was just another reiteration of that fact:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 4 1 1 0 0 7/11 7/14 0

Played 26 minutes off the bench and led the Hawks in points! He’s 42 freaking years old! For you inquiring minds, he’d need to play a few more years to hold the title of the oldest player to ever play in an NBA game. Nat Kickey was 45 years, 363 days old when he played two games in 1947. That shouldn’t count but it does. For someone a little more relevant, Kevin Willis played five games during the 2006 season at the ripe age of 44 years, 224 days. Now, this lede is basically an homage to the awesomeness of Vince Carter, but he’s actually been a fantasy asset. Over the past four games, he’s averaged 27.4 minutes, 13.5 points, 3.5 tres, 3.3 boards, 2.3 dimes, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks! Good for top 85 value. Granted, the Hawks are banged up, as John Collins, Taurean Prince, and Omari Spellman have been out due to injury, yet……Nothing but amazing.

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It must be hard to be the second fiddle night in and night out. Constantly being ignored and written off while your teammate garners all the praise. I think the most obvious dynamic duo of this kind in the NBA is Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. A slightly less obvious one is the front court duo of Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert.  Gobert almost always has a better fantasy line and puts up the gaudier defensive numbers and Favors’ stats would easily benefit if Rudy were to go down with an injury or if he was on another team. Well, for one glorious night, Robin saved Batman and got the villain. Favors went off for the line of 23-18-0-1-3-2 on 10-of-12 shooting and 3-of-4 from the line and led the Jazz to a victory over the Bucks. Derrick Favors is a man who has enjoyed a solid, if unspectacular NBA career. He’s one of the few remaining players who have played for the New Jersey Nets, a team I remember fondly. He’s actually been with Utah for nine years and has been a staple in the starting lineup for pretty much all of that time. He’s shooting a career best 57.8% FGs and is having his best blocks season since 2016. So today, take a second to think about the sous-chef, the vice president, the Derrick Favors’ of the world and how important they really are.

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Clint Capela was producing at a top 20 level, averaging 17.1 points, 12.5 boards, and 1.8 blocks. Then, he suffered a thumb injury and missed 14 games. Upon his return, D’Antoni gave him 33, 28, and 34 minutes of run, in which Capela produced top 100 value. Every performer needs a warm up or time to get into the groove. Well, if last night was any indication, Capela is done with rehearsing and reading for prime time.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
23 17 2 1 1 0 0 10/16 3/4

Capela played a team-high 41 minutes. Now, Kenneth Faried did miss some time last night due to injury, so that may explain some of the minutes bump, but Capela looks ready to go for the stretch run. Prior to the injury, he was averaging close to 35 minutes per game and produced three 20/20 games. The Rockets are getting healthy and I can’t wait to see what the main act provides.

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There are times when it’s okay to love your cousin. If he/she is hot….and you are the only people on an island in the middle of nowhere. If you live down South. Ha! I kid. Seriously though, many places allow love and marriage to a cousin. Even in the US of A, 19 states allow marriage to first cousins and 41 allow them to live together. In Amish society, their group is relatively small in number and marriage outside of their religion is forbidden. Simple suppy, demand, and survival equation there. Don’t sweat it fellow fantasy basketballer, though. You can love DeMarcus Cousins without shame or remorse.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
24 11 3 1 3 1 1/4 9/15 5/5

Played 31 minutes, the first time eclipsing the 30 minute mark all season. Steve Kerr did mention recently that he will ramp up the minutes for Cousins. Well, it’s good to know that Kerr is not a liar. Over the past four games, Cousins has been a top 30 player, averaging 16.5 points, 1 tres, 11.3 boards, 3.3 dimes, 1.5 steals, and 2 blocks. The 41% from the field isn’t good (43% on the season), but he’s shooting 88% from the line (78% on the season). Man, I was wrong about Cousins, as I didn’t think he’d be able to come back from that Achilles injury. Much love Cousins. Much love.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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